Ocean Science Lecture Series 2013

The Ocean Science Lecture Series provides a forum for the community at large to learn about Harbor Branch's most recent discoveries directly from the scientists who made them. The invited speakers from other institutions are colleagues who work on topics relevant to our Harbor research themes.

To view this season's flyer, click here.

Lectures are held in the auditorium of the Johnson Education Center on the Harbor Branch campus, 5600 U.S. 1 North, Fort Pierce. "In-Season" weekly lectures (January through March) are at 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., followed by a meet-the-speaker reception. "Off-season" lectures (April through December) are at 7:00 p.m. only unless otherwise noted. There is no charge to attend.

If you are interested in sponsoring a lecture, or if you have any questions about the Ocean Science Lecture Series, please contact Jill Sunderland at 772-242-2506, or email at education@hboi.edu.

January 16: Shirley Pomponi, FAU HBOI - The History of Undersea Exploration in the U.S.: Heroes & Highlights

The race to make the first solo dive to the deepest part of the ocean was won by James Cameron in March. But Americans have pioneered deep ocean exploration with many firsts: the first manned submersible research dive, the first dive to the deepest part of the ocean, the first modern diver lock-out submersible. Dr. Shirley Pomponi will chronicle the development of undersea exploration in the U.S. since 1930.

This 2013 lecture is available online via streaming video. Click here to view video.


January 23: Paul Wills, FAU HBOI - Developing Sustainable Land-Based Aquaculture:  Harbor Branch's Prototype IMTA System

The aquaculture industry’s growth has reached a pace where over half of the seafood consumed today comes from farms. Dr. Paul Wills will discuss changes in the aquaculture industry and an HBOI innovation that will bring sustainable farmed seafood to US consumers.  

This 2013 lecture is available online via streaming video. Click here to view video.


January 30: Rita Colwell, University of Maryland College Park & Johns Hopkins University - Climate, Oceans and Infectious Diseases:  The Cholera Paradigm

The occurrence and distribution of many infectious diseases, notably those that are vector-born, including malaria and cholera, show a very close interaction with the environment. With satellite sensors, these relationships can be quantified and comparatively analyzed. Distinguished Professor Rita Colwell is also a former Director of the National Science Foundation.

This 2013 lecture is available online via streaming video. Click here to view video.



Sir Peter Crane, Yale University - The Interconnectedness of Natural and Human Systems:  From Global Change to the Indian River Lagoon  NOTE: This lecture is sponsored by the Yale Club of the Treasure Coast and will be held at ST. EDWARDS SCHOOL (1895 Saint Edwards Drive, Vero Beach) at 6:30 p.m.

The interconnectedness of natural systems means that the impacts of human-induced environmental changes may be felt far from their source and may be manifested at all scales from global to local. Mitigating the impacts of such changes, or adapting to them, will require great ingenuity, both in policy and technology, and is likely to become an increasing preoccupation of human communities all around the world in the coming decades.

This 2013 lecture is available online via streaming video. Click here to view video.



February 13: John Scarpa, FAU HBOI - Clam Culture and Climate Change in Florida

What’s a clam and a clam farmer to do as water temperatures rise in the coastal waters of Florida? Research Professor John Scarpa will chronicle his collaborative research efforts on developing a heat-tolerant clam with regard to climate change and identifying alternative clam species for the shellfish culture industry of Florida.

This 2013 lecture is available online via streaming video. Click here to view video.


February 20: Clay Cook, FAU HBOI - Ocean Acidification - The Other CO2 Problem

Increasing carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere has resulted in higher carbon dioxide concentrations in oceanic waters. This in turn has led to decreasing pH, or ocean acidification. Dr. Clay Cook will discuss the chemistry of this process, and its past and future consequences for a variety of marine habitats and organisms, drawing in part on his work at the US National Science Foundation.

This 2013 lecture is available online via streaming video. Click here to view video.


February 27: Amy Wright, FAU HBOI - Natural Products:  Aren't They Great?

Harbor Branch has had a program in marine natural products discovery for over 25 years, actively searching for new treatments for cancer, malaria, tuberculosis, neurodegenerative diseases and microbial infection. Research Professor Amy Wright, director of this program, will focus on some of our recent work in the discovery of new natural products with therapeutic value.

This 2013 lecture is available online via streaming video. Click here to view video.


March 6: Andy Clark, Link Foundation/Dennis Hanisak, FAU HBOI - "An Opportunity to Develop Your Genius": A Homecoming Celebrating 60 Years of the Link Foundation and 40 Years of the Summer Interns at Harbor Branch

The Harbor Branch Summer Intern Program, launched in 1974, with support from the Link Foundation, has hosted 520 college/university students. This program grew out of the Link Foundation Fellowship Program, which supports Ph.D. Fellows in the areas of energy, ocean engineering, and simulation. This lecture is an opportunity to meet some of the very first Interns and Fellows and learn about the shared history of Harbor Branch and the Link Foundation.

March 13: Marilyn Mazzoil, FAU HBOI - Days of Our Lives:  Dolphins in the Indian River Lagoon

This lecture follows a day in the life of an Indian River Lagoon dolphin, from a collection of stories derived from a long-term study of individual dolphins. Resident dolphins have been followed from birth to death, providing unique insights into behavioral variability throughout each life stage.

March 20: Bob Howarth, Cornell University - Can We Save the Coasts from Nutrient Pollution?

Two thirds of the coastal rivers and bays of the United States are moderately to severely degraded from nutrient pollution, particularly nitrogen. In many regions, climate change is aggravating this problem. Professor Bob Howarth will briefly describe the consequences, detail the sources of the problem, and lay out some potential solutions.

March 27: Megan Davis, FAU HBOI - Ocean Entrees: Seafood and Sea Vegetables

Making wise seafood choices for taste, nutrition, and health are topics that will be interweaved during a seafood and sea vegetable cooking demonstration. Come and learn the ins and outs of wild- and farm-raised seafood and sea vegetables and take home some great recipes! 

Click here to download a pdf file with recipes from this lecture.

This 2013 lecture is available online via streaming video. Click here to view video.


April 3: Susan Laramore & Amber Garr, FAU HBOI - After the Spill...The Impact of Deep Water Horizon on Gulf of Mexico Fisheries

Drs. Laramore and Garr have spent the last two years researching the toxicity effects of the oil and dispersant used to mitigate the spill on oyster, shrimp, and conch larvae as well as planktonic food sources. Their presentation will focus on the impacts of the spill on the survival, growth, and behavior of these species, and what their results mean for future fisheries landings in the Gulf of Mexico. 

This 2013 lecture is available online via streaming video. Click here to view video.


Monday, Apr 22:  SPECIAL EARTH DAY LECTURE! Deepsea Challenge Expedition: The Science, Engineering, and Leadership of a 7-Mile Dive into the Mariana Trench, Dr. Joe MacInnis.  4pm ONLY

Recently, Joe MacInnis spent 60 days as a journalist-physician on James Cameron’s Deepsea Challenge expedition. In this lecture, MacInnis will chronicle the forces of nature, technical breakdowns, and severe stresses that plagued Cameron’s high-risk mission. He will examine leadership principles including eloquence, empathy, and energy that allowed Cameron’s team to make their historic 7-mile dive. Book signing and reception to follow.

May 1:  Deirdre R. Meldrum, Arizona State University - Oceanomics and Sensorbots

“Sensorbots,” are equipped with thousands of chemical sensors on their skin to measure oxidation/reduction, pH, a wide variety of ions, dissolved gases, pollutants, other chemicals, and biomolecules. To study the immense oceans, we would deploy thousands of Sensorbots to record physical, chemical, and biological parameters, and use informatics to decipher and catalog the copious data as it changes over time.  When wide-spread Sensorbot networks become a reality, we can virtually bring the dynamic ocean information, from mesoscal to microscale, to our desktops. It will bring to scientists, educators and students, policy makers, and eventually the general public, a fundamental shift in understanding the oceans and our future on earth.

June 5:  Jeff Beal, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, Emily Dark, Antioch University - Lionfish Are Invading the Indian River Lagoon

In 2009, the Treasure Coast experienced an explosion of reports regarding the widespread occurrence of the invasive Indo-Pacific lionfish on offshore natural and artificial reefs.  To date, over 300 have been seen in the Loxahatchee River and roughly 100 seen in other Indian River Lagoon estuarine locations along man-made and natural structures, including mangrove prop roots.  The introduction of this exotic species has numerous implications for our region and unique removal strategies are required within the lagoon.

This 2013 lecture is available online via streaming video. Click here to view video.


August 28:  Niclas Engene, Smithsonian Marine Station, Fort Pierce - What's My Name Again? How Better Taxonomy Can Aid In Understanding Harmful Algal Blooms

Cyanobacteria seasonally form extensive blooms in the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) and throughout Southern Florida. Many of these cyanobacteria produce chemicals that can be hazardous to both humans and the natural environment.  Smithsonian researchers found some prevalent bloom-forming cyanobacteria in Southern Florida are new species that have previously been misidentified. Newly developed classification systems are important for monitoring, predicting or possibly controlling potentially harmful cyanobacterial blooms in the IRL and Southern Florida.

This 2013 lecture is available online via streaming video. Click here to view video.


September 18:  Jennifer Sneed, Smithsonian Marine Station, Fort Pierce - Unsung Heroes of the Sea: The Importance of Marine Bacteria in Ecological Interactions

From bodyguards to matchmakers, marine bacteria play many roles in the interactions between organisms in sea. They may be small, but they are key to the survival of marine ecosystems. There are 1 million bacterial cells in every milliliter of seawater and even higher densities covering nearly every surface that is submerged beneath the water. These bacteria produce a wide array of biologically active compounds that affect the interactions between organisms in the ocean and are critical to the functioning of marine ecosystems. They can produce antibiotics that protect their hosts from disease or compounds that keep predators away. They can even produce compounds that tell corals where to find a home. Thanks to new technological advances, we are understanding more and more about the important roles that microbes play in marine ecological interactions. This lecture will shed light on the fascinating world of marine bacteria, the unsung heroes of the sea.

This 2013 lecture is available online via streaming video. Click here to view video.


To view last year's (2012) Ocean Science Lecture Series topics, CLICK HERE.